Evenfall (In the Company of Shadows, #1) - Santino Hassell,  Ais Evenfall

The attraction:

A completely entertaining piece. The character of Hsin, utterly magnetizing. The character of Boyd, emotionally compelling and relatable. Enjoyable secondary characters. All the characters and the dynamics among them, are extraordinarily, clearly developed and written. Dystopian future easily imagined from context. Plot portrayed the intelligence and skills of main characters and allowed their relationship to develop believably without overshadowing the wonderfully, angst filled romance. Burn, slow, but well worth it. All in all, cohesive.

Side note:

When I began to get about halfway through this novel I began to wonder the ages of the authors. I am not quite sure how to describe it, but despite being set in a dystopian future on the compound of a secret agency and about skilled assassins, it has a “high school” feel about it. As if it is actually set at a school or college more so, perhaps. The social dynamics are astute and even relatable. Featuring the admired, but flawed father figure, the emo kid, the distant, but compelling bad boy, the insatiable ice queen mother, the geeky boy next door, the all-American (or all-Russian?) secretly flawed hero, the highly intelligent, but always aloof comedic relief of a friend, the annoying girl, who is actually just a nice person, but no matter what you can’t stand her and even an unredeemable bully who gets what is coming to him. All characters that you can recognize and some you can probably even compare to in your social circle. Your social circle when you were a teenager, when perceptions of others tended to be complex and even illustrious, but goals and motives were shallowly simple. At first I thought to credit this atmospheric feeling to the youth of the authors, when it dawned on me it was more due to the youth of the characters, primarily Boyd, though Hsin had some arrested development in his own right. And once it registered with me that I am reading a large part of the book from that of a 19 year old (a 19 year old in a very adult, non-nineteen year old setting and situations), it made sense and I felt much more comfortable in the book. I actually found the concept quite novel.

The distraction:

Not well written, but not badly written. Ridiculously long and unfortunately, in need of a very good editor. Length comparison: The Administration, very long, but very well written - no need for anymore editing there, all was relevant. Special Forces: Soldiers, very long, but again well written, with all pertinent context. Evenfall, very long and no need to be. You can cut a lot of crap out of this novel. I would start with condensing Boyd’s babbling soliloquies to contain only the essential details needed to convey his thought or emotion. It is often necessary and welcome to know what a main character is thinking and how they perceive situations and events, however, their stream of consciousness is not needed. Boyd’s inner voice often wastes my time. His thoughts give so much detail to his surroundings and events and what he thinks others think, ugh. At first I paid attention to the detail thinking in someway it would come back in the story and be pertinent information, but then when I began to realize that the kid was just over thinking, and in many cases adding unnecessary drama by doing so. I began to wish he would just shut up already. Sin’s inner voice on the other hand was often concise and logical and didn’t take seven pages in a chapter to convey. I am not sure if the difference in how these two characters’ inner monologues were written was supposed to be a mechanism for the authors to showcase that Boyd was the “thinker” and Sin was “all action” or merely an elementary mistake. Either way all it did was make me annoyed with Boyd and want to skim many parts, because after reading the first paragraph of one of Boyd’s tangents, it was easy to discern the rest of his rambling voice either merely repeated what was already conveyed or added nothing to furthering the plot. I really think if they could “tidy up” Boyd this series could be picked up by a publisher.

Well it looks like Boyd got me so worked up, now my own inner voice is rambling.

Wanted more of:

Luke Gerant. The book begins via the perspective of Luke Gerant. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of things from his perspective written in here and there (especially during the attack on the compound - what a great opportunity to circle back to Luke’s perspective). It seems like though the book began with him, his perspective is either promptly dropped or forgotten. I think the continued perspective of someone who is on the perimeters of the main characters would have benefited this book.

On the whole, I eagerly recommend this series and look forward to the authors’ other projects, especially in the 180 Vega series.

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